This article originally appeared on Greatist.com
We know it can be tough to go to the gym when there's a full queue on Netflix, Ben & Jerry's in the freezer, or really, anything better to do with your time. Or maybe you're a runner whose workout schedule involves running, running, and more running. Then when you do hit the weights, your arms, back, and legs are so sore that you vow never to work out again (trust us, we've been there).
Whether your days are overtaken by running or you simply don't have the time (or motivation) to get to the gym very often, you've probably wondered the same thing we were: Is it even worth it to strength train only one or two times a week?
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Why You Should Lift
We won't be the first to tell you there are plenty of good reasons to hit the weight room—even if your goal isn't to build arms like The Incredible Hulk. Strength training can improve physical performance, movement control, walking speed, functional independence, cognitive abilities, and self-esteem. Plus, it can reduce blood pressure, enhance cardiovascular health, and decrease chances of developing type 2 diabetes .
Gaining strength also minimizes your chance of getting hurt. "You'll increase bone density and strengthen the tendons and ligaments, so not only are you simply able to lift more weight, but you're also building resistance to injury," explains Michael Boyle, a strength and conditioning coach and functional training expert in Boston.
And while you may think cardio is key to losing weight, a study found that men who did 20 minutes of weight training each day saw a smaller increase in belly fat as men who spent the same amount of time doing cardio. In another study, 10 weeks of resistance training was shown to increase lean weight by 1.4 kg (about three pounds), increase resting metabolic rate by 7 percent, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg (about four pounds) . So if you're trying to slim down, it may be time to say so long to the treadmill—and hello to the weight rack.